Osteoporosis – the brittle truth

Osteoporosis.  If you’re a woman approaching menopause you’ll no doubt be aware of it and the consequences to your bones.  If you are not a woman at that stage of your life, or you’re male, then you either; may not have heard of it (unlikely in these times), or at the very least not be paying too much attention to it.

But it’s real, it’s common, and it affects men as well – so please don’t be deceived into thinking this is solely an old lady thing. 

I found out this week that I have advanced osteoporosis in my lumbar spine and am heading nicely into osteoporosis in my neck.  My GP who laughingly told me some weeks ago that his nurses were concerned I was overdue a bone density test – downplayed the whole situation.  However in my lumbar I am close to off the scale and definitely not where a woman my age should be.  To add the icing to this rather brittle cake, I am a Yoga teacher and practitioner of over 30 years, so I do get the irony of this situation as well.  But how the heck did this happen?  And why so quickly when I’m not even 60 until October (for some reason 60 has set a flag in my brain for degradation of faculties).  Apologies to those over 60 – it’s definitely me not you that’s the issue here.

Speaking to a cousin (my parents had died by the time I was 21) as the repository of family information, apparently her mother and my grandmother both had bad osteoporosis.  So there may be a genetic link as well.  Have to say, as a Yogi who combines stronger asana with slow and more somatic practices this rather annoyed me.  So evidently the Yoga in my case is not enough.  The pain and discomfort is real, so what can I do now to alleviate and mitigate any further degradation?

At this point I’m awaiting my referral for x-rays to see if I’ve actually broken anything, and once I know that I guess I move forward.  It’s interesting as a few weeks before Christmas 2020 I strained my neck moving furniture around.  And my back hasn’t been right since. 

My GP has put me on a monthly calcium and vitamin D pill.  Miraculous I’m sure but is that enough?  I doubt it.  I had a physio in Sydney once tell me that “you lose it if you don’t use it” – specifically movement in the spine.   I feel that I need to keep using it, but what is now the best method of doing so?  Yoga – yes, but there are definitely some asana I will need to avoid, Pilates – yes for sure, again some moves to avoid. But what else?  Over the next while I shall be endeavouring to find out what the best practices are for me to stop this and hopefully, if not reverse it, at least be confident that I will be able to ‘use it’ for many more years. I have things to do, places to go, future grand-children to chase around the yard, and roads and byways to walk with my dog.  This cannot be it, the slow degeneration into a dowagers hump, a rather feeble amble to the letterbox and 24 hour talk back radio.  I AM TOO YOUNG damn it.

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